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So THAT Is What A Weekend is For

Rodney, agents are telling me that they get a Citrix error when they try to log in.

How many agents?

So far about three.

Okay, have them call helpdesk and report it. They can try switching seats and see if it clears up. If you get more than five having issues, call me back.

Sounds, good. Thanks.

I got a couple of calls Saturday morning. But, they didn’t turn out to be long. After the appove exchange they didn’t call back.

Sunday also came and went with no phone calls.

Monday, the holiday, also went by with zero calls.

You probably don’t worry about getting calls on the weekend. Some of you do, but most people don’t think too much about work between Friday at 5:00 and Monday (or in this case, Tuesday) at 8:00AM.

I’m not like most people. For the last three weekends, I’ve spent hours on the phone. Even Mother’s Day was spent working through issues. I went 20 days working every day.

Fortunately, I don’t have a physically strenuous job. But, mentally, it started to take a toll. By last Friday, I really wasn’t focused on the deliverables I had outstanding.

I wasn’t focused on anything.

Today, we had an issue that I had to be on the phone for hours to resolve. And, to make it worse, I had a project meeting I needed to attend at the same time. I had two headsets on and the mute button working to be on both calls at once.

That’s not a particulary unusual situation for me. Last Friday, it would have frustrated me immensely.

Today? Meh, I got both calls completed successfully. And incidentally neither call knew I was on two calls at once.

I had reports that are due in two days, but my VP asked, “Can you get those for me, asap?”

SURE, I can. No problem. I realized that today, I love my job. Even the hard parts.

It’s amazing what a couple of days off will do. And I didn’t even have to take an personal time for it. Although it certainly felt like it.

Break’s over. Everyone back on your heads!

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
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Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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My Search For Capt Abdiel Bliss, Hero of the Revolution. . .But Was He Really A Captain?

In honor of Memorial Day I thought I’d share a little bit about one of my military heroes.

This is a picture of my father, Lloyd Bliss. He was a reluctant soldier many years ago. A victim of the draft, he spent his service in Alaska and he and the Army couldn’t wait to part ways.

20130526-231301.jpg
(Lloyd V Bliss 1931-2009)

But, my family has a history of military service. My brother was in the Army. My daughter is currently in the Army. But, there was a family story of soldiers from the earliest days of the country.

Every family has the family stories of our earliest immigrants. My family was no different. Bliss is not a particularly common name. We were told that all the Bliss’s in America descended from two brothers who fought in the Revolution. I set out to see if I could find if this was true. The results were both exciting and somewhat disappointing. But more exciting than disappointing.

I went to http://new.familysearch.org to start my search. Here’s the genealogy.

My father, Lloyd V Bliss, pictured above, was born April 4, 1931 in Great Falls, MT. He passed away June 12, 2009 in Olympia, WA.

 My grandfather Charles William Bliss was born 13 November 1910 in Creston, IA. He died in 1983, the year I graduated from high school in Olympia, WA.

 My great-grandfather Howard A Bliss was born November 23, 1884 in Lincoln Township, IA. He died October 1966 in Harloton, MT.

 My great-great-grandfather Charles E. Bliss was born August 24, 1861 in Creston, IA. He died September 26, 1950 in Riverside, CA.

 My great-great-great-grandfather David Bliss Jr was born April 20, 1807 in Calais Township, VT, a town his grandfather helped to found. He died September 25, 1872 in Union County, IA.

My great-great-great-great-grandfather David Bliss was born October 19, 1767 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. He died March 11, 1853 in Jefferson county, IA.

 My great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Captain Abdiel Bliss was born December 15, 1740 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. He died June 10, 1805 Calais, VT, a town he helped to found.

He was one of the founding members of Calais, Vermont. The grateful town erected this marker in his honor.
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(Photo courtesy of http://www.findagrave.com)

Additional pictures of Abdiel’s grave are available at the http://www.findagrave.com site. I found that Capt Bliss was at the battle of Lexington, where the “shot heard round the world” started the war. He was at Concord later that day as the colonists won their first victory over British regulars. a few weeks later he helped defend Breeds Hill in the misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill. He served throughout the war.

In researching great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Abdiel, I was introduced to the Society of the Cincinnati. It’s an organization formed shortly after the Revolutionary war by the officers in the Continental Army. They had achieved such a remarkable feat against such overwhelming odds, that they felt a kinship that transcended their service. What made the Society of the Cincinnati unique was that membership was hereditary. It passed from each officer to his oldest son. It then went on to his oldest grandson, and so on down through the generations, always to the oldest surviving male heir, from the male line. If the rightful heir didn’t want the membership, another could take his place.

FamilySearch allows you to search both backwards and forwards through generations. I started tracing Abdiel’s descendants. Slowly, one by one the male lines petered out. I’d trace one line down for 4 or 5 generations and then go back to the next male descendant.

Eventually, I was tracing my line. My father had no brothers. My grandfather had no brothers. Imagine my surprise to find that the oldest male descendant of Captain Abdiel Bliss was my father. When he passed away the next in line was my older brother Charles. Charles never married. Next in line was my brother Howard who has two sons, Jesse and Richard. My older brother Rick has five daughters. And I have five sons.

So, Charles was the rightful heir to the membership slot awarded to the descendants of Captain Abdiel. With no descendants, would he want the honor? And would Howard?

Before I approached them, I decided I needed to figure out exactly how you claim membership. Each state has their own Society of Cincinnati. I found the website for the Massachusetts chapter and emailed them.

I received a response from J Archer O’Reilly III.

Mr. Bliss

I have no record of an Abdiel Bliss in Continental service. I have a Lt. Joseph Bliss who was paymaster of the Corps of Artillery and a Capt. Thomas Theodore Bliss who was in the 2nd Reg. Continental Artillery who is currently represented.

If you can provide a service record for Abdiel or are related to Joseph please let me know.

Membership in Massachusetts requires descent from an eligible officer or one of his siblings. I do not know if Abdiel and Joseph were related.

Thank you for your interest and contact me if I can assist.
J Archer O’Reilly III

Archer was pleasant enough, but was fairly adamant that Abdiel Bliss had never served in the Continental army. I did additional research and found that Massachusetts published a 17 volume record of everyone who served. There was Abdiel serving in various companies from 1776 to 1779.

And that is where the mystery was solved. Abdiel certainly served in the war, but not in the Continental Army. He was in the militia. As Archer explained,

I have done more research, due to your great interest and it confirms what
you have found. Unfortunately, that is that Abdiel Bliss was an officer in three
different Massachusetts militia companies between 1776 and 1779. This service
certainly deserves the title ‘Revolutionary officer’ but not membership in the
Society of the Cincinnati.

The bottom line is that I am now certain that Abdiel Bliss was a militia officer with
substantial service and that he is not eligible to be represented in this Society.

I have to admit I was slightly disappointed that great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Abdiel wasn’t eligible for membership in Society of the Cincinnati. Okay, truth be told, I was disappointed that my brothers and I weren’t eligible. But, finding out your ancestor was one of the original Minute Men is still pretty cool.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

King For A Day

Son, if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes. . .now that would have been a tragedy.
– Moonlight “Doc” Graham

Moonlight Graham was a real person. He was a Major League baseball player for the 1905 New York Giants baseball team. He debuted on June 29, 1905. That was also the date of his last game. Like his character in the movie Field of Dreams, Moonlight Graham played exactly one game. His official stat line looks like this:

GAMES: 1
PLATE APPEARANCES: 0
AT BATS: 0
RUNS: 0
HITS: 0
DOUBLES: 0
TRIPLES: 0
HOME RUNS: 0
RUNS BATTED IN: 0
STOLEN BASES: 0
WALKS: 0
STRIKE OUTS: 0
HIT BY PITCH: 0

Graham never got to bat. He came in as a substitute in the top of the 9th inning. He was on deck when the third out was scored, meaning he was the next person that would have gotten to bat. He played the bottom of the ninth in right field. No balls were hit his way.

He played in the minors for a few years. He went to medical school and eventually became the town doctor for Chisholm, Minnesota from 1919 to 1959. He passed away in 1965.

The quote above is from the movie. It’s nearly inconceivable that you haven’t seen it, but in case you haven’t, Kevin Costner’s character goes to see an old Doc Graham and tells him that he can give him a chance to finally get to bat in a baseball game. Doc turns him down.

Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within…you came this close. It would kill some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. They’d consider it a tragedy.

Doc explains that baseball wasn’t the important thing.

In the movie Hoosiers, Gene Hackman plays a basketball coach in a small Indiana town. Barbara Hershey’s character tries to keep Hackman from recruiting a young man.

You know, a basektball hero around here is treated like a god. How can he ever find out what he can really do? I don’t want this to be the high point of his life. I’ve seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.

You know, most people would kill…to be treated like a god, just for a few minutes.

There a line in Mormon scripture that says,

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
– Doctrine And Covenants 18:15

My son went on a mission for the Mormon church. He was called to serve in the Layton, Utah mission for three months. At the end of that time he would possibly be reasssigned or released.

A mission is a rite of passage for Mormon young men. My son had to overcome some pretty serious health issues to even get to be called on a 3 month mission. Most missions are for 24 months.

My son finished his mission early. In fact, very early. After a week, he came to the realization that his body wasn’t up to the physical toll that a mission put on him. He was needing to walk 10-12 miles per day. And it was just too much.

He’s home now, and fully recovered, but understanding that his desire exceeded his ability. He’s moving on to the rest of his life. He’s applying to BYU and hopes to attend in the Fall. He’s getting his old job back and looking to buy a car.

I’ve considered what it means to work hard for a goal and then have to change your plan, or cut short your dream. I told my son,

You got to be a missionary for a week. You got to be a representative for the Church and for Jesus Christ. And even if it was for only one day, instead of 7 or three months or two years, that is something very special.

My son is at peace with his decision. He knows that he tried his best and we all know that given the choice, he’d have served longer.

But, sometimes, it’s enough to just be king for a day.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Proud Of Other’s Success

You’re taking him to his review tonight, right?

I had forgotten. It’s been that kind of week. Lots of hours at work. Lots of stress. I just wanted to relax in my office. And now I had to go out to another meeting.

But, then I remembered what this one was for. This was my son’s Eagle Board of Review.

It takes a minimum of 2 years of work to get an Eagle Scout award. Boys typically start when they are 11. So, they can complete it by 13. They must complete it by the time they are 18. My son is 16. He completed the majority of the requirements last year.

As we met the men who would conduct the review they were surprised at my son’s age.

Most of the boys we see are just a few days from turning 18.

My son got to introduce me to the men on the board.

This is my dad, Rodney Bliss. . .And he’s pretty cool, I guess.

My introduction of him was slightly longer. I was then invited to sit in the hall as the men talked to my son about his Eagle Scout project and merit badges.

I had a lot of chance to think about what it means for him to achieve this? It’s a goal I had for my son since he was 11 years old. Probably because it was a goal I had since I was 11 years old. I completed my Eagle Scout requirements when I was 15 and had it awarded when I was 16.

My dad didn’t push me. And I tried to not push my sons. My oldest son earned his Eagle Scout award. The two brothers closest in age to him chose to not complete the requirements.

This is my fourth son. His younger brother still has a couple merit badges left to earn.

I love all my boys the same. I’m proud of all my boys. I like to think that I’m just as proud of all my boys. Each boys has their own talents and interests.

My brothers chose to not get Eagle Scout awards.

Yes, I’m proud of all my boys, regardless of their goals in scouting.

But, today, I’m especially proud of my son who just became the newest Eagle Scout tonight.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Good At Hiding The Bodies

But, Rodney, you’re good at crisis management. I don’t think you should view it as a negative

I was meeting with my therapist. That’s something I do every week. Mostly it’s been for anxiety. We’ve worked through much of that. Today we were talking about crisis management. We decided I’m good at it. But, I don’t like being good at it.

Don’t get me wrong, being good at it, is better than being bad at it. I’ve spent years learning how to manage crisis. You know how the more you do something, the better you get at it? Yeah, it was like that.

The crisis in my life have been nearly constant. That sounds melodramatic. Even I rolled my eyes a little as I typed it. I used to think that everyone’s life was similar. That mine was nothing special. I was just a better story teller.

My therapist, after hearing my story disagreed. For whatever reason, I’ve been cursed to “live in interesting times” as the old Chinese proverb suggests.

Recently, I witnessed a car crash. A few nights ago it unfolded directly in front of me. A truck turned left in front of an oncoming car. What happens to you during a crisis? Are you one that freezes? Flees? I tend to be moved to action.

Before the cars had come to a stop, I had my hazard lights turned on. Put my car in park. Jumped out and went to check on the first car. The girl was in shock, but fortunately not otherwise hurt. I suggested she turn off her car. I then went and checked on the second vehicle. They were also safe, but shaken up. I cleared the road of some debris and then went and got a flashlight and started directing traffic around the wrecks until the police arrived.

I don’t remember spending very much time thinking about what I should do. I just started doing it. I kept waiting for the “let down” later. You know, when the crisis is past and you get the shakes or feel emotionally drained?

Nope. Not a bit. I didn’t even mention it to my family. It didn’t seem that important at the time.

Even now, I’m a little hesitant to share it. Isn’t it “what anyone would do”? We all imagine what we would do in a crisis. I think we all imagine ourselves the hero of the story, saving the day, rescuing the princess (or prince!)

We will, hopefully, never have to consider what we’d do in a true life or death situation. I like to think I’d respond the way I did at the car wreck. Don’t get hysterical. Just get busy solving the crisis.

It’s one thing to be good at crisis management. But, what if you thrive in it? What if you create crisis so that you can solve them? You’d know if you were that kind of person, wouldn’t you? I would hope so.

But, what if you didn’t? If you were in denial, how would you know? If it’s any consolation, my therapist doesn’t think I’m that kind of person.

Me? I’m not so sure. She thinks I’m good at crisis management. But, I’m worried that maybe I’m just good at hiding the bodies.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Meet The Most Famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of

I have a question for you. It’s for science, so please be honest.

How many of you have heard of Craig S Wright?

No?

Okay, how about this one?

Who has heard of Satoshi Nakamoto?

Okay, okay, a few more.

Today we found out something important about both men. The most important thing we found was that both men are the same person. You know Satoshi Nakamoto, or at least you know of him.

Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin, the electronic currency. Bitcoin is a virtual currency. It’s created by “mining.” Mining is a way of discovering new bitcoins by running a computer program.

Bitcoin is used to pay for things. It’s completely untraceable. That makes it appealing to people who want to buy and sell stuff without anyone tracing the purchase back to them.

Because bitcoin isn’t backed by any government or currency, it’s value is determiend by the market. Bitcoin currently sells for about $8,000. In December of 2017 Bitcoin was selling for $20,000. Two years before that in December of 2015 Bitcoin was selling for $400.

Bitcoin is the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto. Back in 2008 he wrote a whitepaper describing how it would work. He also then wrote most of the programming code that created bitcoins.

The thing was, no one knew Satoshi Nakamoto outside of the online bitcoin world. Naturally it was suspected that he was Japanese. I think that’s the reason he chose the name he did.

Part of the reason that no one could find Nakamoto was that once bitcoin was up and going, Nakamoto didn’t seem to care about it. He didn’t make a bunch of money off of it that anyone could tell. He didn’t speak at conferences or do anything else that “inventors” or programming rockstars typically do. He was invisible.

Many people tried to find out who he was and there are even pictures online that show an old Japanese man who might be Satoshi Nakamoto.

Today that all changed. We found out that Satoshi Nakamoto is not Japanese. He’s actually Australian. And his name isn’t Satoshi Nakamoto, it’s Craig Steven Wright.

What makes today different is that Craig Wright filed for copyright protection over bitcoin. That seems kind of hard to do. He actually filed for copyright protection for that whitepaper back in 2008. And he filed for copyright protection for the portions of the bitcoin programming code that Satoshi Nakamoto wrote.

You’d think that Wright was making a play for the fame or the glory or maybe some sort of financial play. But, it doesn’t appear that way.

There are actually several “flavors” of bitcoin. Wright claims that that Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) is the right, or true version. He’s concerned that other versions, such as BTC, allow the system to be anonymized, and lead to illegal activity.

His intention is to push BSV as the “official” bitcoin and allow it to scale up in a way that current bitcoin iterations don’t.

So, the mystery of the creator of bitcoin is finally solved.

Maybe.

See, there are some people still not convinced that Craig S Wright is actually Satoshi Nakamoto.

The copyright office believes he is, but not everyone is convinced.

And that doesn’t really surprise anyone.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

How Tall Is A House?

Okay, it wasn’t a house. It was the second floor of a building. The Talmage Building on the campus of BYU. But, how tall was it? (Just the second floor.)

I take the stairs at work. I work on the fourth floor. Well, in America we call it the fourth floor. In Europe it’d be called the third floor. They count: Ground, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. At least that’s what I remember from high school French. That and

Bonjour, ca va?

Oui, ca va. Et toi?

Pal mal.

Five years of French and that’s it.

I tend to count stairs. It’s not any OCD condition. It’s just really boring to walk up stairs and counting gives me something to do. The distance between the 2nd floor and the 3rd floor is 12 feet. It’s the same as the distance between the 3rd and 4th. The distance between the 1st and 2nd floor is 13.5 feet.

You might wonder how I know those distances. And I have to admit they are approximations. But, they are pretty close. I know the distances because I count my steps. It’s 24 steps between the 2nd and 3rd and between the 3rd and 4th. There are 27 steps between the 1st and 2nd floor.

Steps are about 6 inches tall. It’s a pretty simple calculation.

Did you know a dollar bill is six inches long? You can use one to measure the height of a step. (Not sure of the length of a $20 bill. But, it’s probably pretty close.)

So, if you want to know how tall a house, or a building is, you can measure the height between floors by counting the steps.

But, what does all this have to do with the BYU Talmage building? I’ve counted steps for a long time. I counted them when I was in college. I studied Computer Science in the Talmage building. And I counted the steps.

Do you want to know how tall the second floor of the Talmage building is?

I don’t know. Honestly, to this day I don’t know.

The problem is that the west stairs of the Talmage building have 24 steps. Easy enough, right? 12 feet tall. That’s about right when you figure it’s an office building. In fact, it’s the same height of many of the floors in my own building.

What’s the problem? The problem is that the east stairs of the Talmage building have 27 steps. The two sections were built at different times. I can state clearly that the second floor is level across the entire building. I spent enough time in it to know.

Obviously the stairs are different heights. And if you are looking for it, it’s noticable. But, if you are simply going about your day, you could go up and down both sets of stairs and never notice any difference.

I’ve thought a lot about those stairs over the years, the lessons they teach.

– Are you paying attention? – You may be missing important details
– How do we measure things? – If one person has a degree from a prestigious university and another person simply has experience, both might get you to the same place
– Are our standards of measure changing? – Just because something was done one way last time can we do it differently this time?

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. They are after all, just a series of stairs. But, it’s also important to learn from what’s around us.

Mostly though, I just wonder “How tall is a house?”

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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